Lawsuit filed against Vince McMahon accusing him of sex trafficking and making payments to staffer to stay quiet

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


A lawsuit was filed today by a former WWE staffer accusing Vince McMahon of sex trafficking and paying her to keep quiet. Today’s Wall Street Journal published a lengthy story today with graphic and lurid details of the allegations made against the current executive chairman of TKO Group Holdings Inc., which consists of WWE and UFC.

Julia Grant, an employee of WWE from 2019 to 2022, alleges that McMahon began sending her explicit photos, locked her inside a private locker room at WWE’s offices and forced himself on her over a massage table, shared nude photos and explicit videos of her without consent to other WWE employees, executives, and wrestlers, and directed her to have sex with them. The following are excerpts of the article’s account of the lawsuit:

•The suit cited a July 2020 text that said others at WWE wanted to have sex with her after seeing photos on McMahon’s phone, and the group laughed when he told them, “She may scream and try to say NO!!although it would B difficult to say anything with a c— down her throat.”

Grant alleged that the company diverted attention away from McMahon’s abuse by focusing on the accounting for the payouts. Others at WWE knew about McMahon’s misconduct but worked to conceal the wrongdoing, according to the suit. …

•McMahon allegedly sent her sexually explicit messages and his sexual demands increased. He forcefully used sex toys on her, including dildos he named after WWE wrestlers, causing her bruising and bleeding, the suit said. Grant alleged that she complained to McMahon and made attempts to end the relationship.

In March 2020, McMahon began sharing sexually explicit photographs and videos of Grant with other men, including other WWE executives and a former UFC heavyweight champion with whom WWE was actively trying to sign to a new contract, according to the suit. In a May 2020 encounter, McMahon defecated on her head during a threesome, the suit said.

McMahon recruited people to have sex with Grant as well, including WWE’s former head of talent relations, John Laurinaitis, who is named as a defendant in the suit. McMahon directed her to visit Laurinaitis at his hotel rooms where she had sex with Laurinaitis prior to the start of workdays, the suit alleged. “I’ve left that hotel feeling bad about myself every time,” Grant told McMahon. …

•In the June 2021 encounter inside the WWE office, the suit said McMahon and Laurinaitis forced themselves on her and took turns restraining her for the other, while saying “No means yes” and “Take it, b—.” …

•In July 2021, the suit said, McMahon instructed Grant to create personalized sexual content for a WWE [wrestler] that he was trying to re-sign. The suit didn’t name the professional wrestler, but described him as both a UFC fighter and WWE talent. People familiar with the matter identified the wrestler as Brock Lesnar, one of WWE’s biggest names.

The lawsuit says that McMahon told Grant that his wife, Linda McMahon, discovered the relationship and then pressured her to sign an NDA in exchange for payments. The lawsuit is seeking to invalidate the NDA.

The article notes that McMahon, Lesnar, and Laurinaitis have not responded to invites to respond to the lawsuit for the article.

McMahon has an executive role in TKO but otherwise has been removed from his other duties connected to WWE including creative control, managing the roster, and appearing on TV as the Mr. McMahon character. McMahon resigned over related allegations in the summer of 2022 but orchestrated a return early in 2023. Shortly after Endeavor purchased WWE and formed TKO as a holding company for both WWE and UFC, McMahon was removed from his day-to-day direct influence on the WWE product.

Last August during a conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings, it was revealed that McMahon had been the subject of a search warrant executed by federal agents on July 17, 2023 and that during the search, McMahon was served a subpoena to appear in front of a federal grand jury. WWE said no charges have been filed. From WWE’s second-quarter financial report:

“The Company has received voluntary and compulsory legal demands for documents, including from federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies, concerning the investigation and related subject matters.”

According to a report from CNBC, the search warrant and subpoena represented “an escalation of an ongoing investigation into allegations that McMahon had paid millions of dollars over the years to women after being accused of sexual misconduct.”

As part of WWE’s filings that week, the company revealed that they incurred an expense of $5.3 million and $7.1 million during the first two quarters of the year in connection with an internal investigation of McMahon’s alleged misconduct. Those expenses are supposed to be reimbursed by McMahon. According to WWE, McMahon has reimbursed the company approximately $17.4 million for costs relating to the internal investigation.

“As previously disclosed, the Special Committee investigation was completed during the fourth quarter of 2022. However, related government investigations remain ongoing,” the company said.

McMahon issued a statement to CNBC regarding the search warrant and ongoing investigation by the government.

“In 2022, WWE formed a special committee to review allegations of misconduct against me. That review was concluded in November 2022 following an extensive investigation. Throughout this experience, I have always denied any intentional wrongdoing and continue to do so. I am confident that the government’s investigation will be resolved without any findings of wrongdoing. I am focused on completing the recovery process from my recent spinal surgery and on closing our transaction with Endeavor, which will create one of the preeminent global sports and entertainment brands.”

Last year, Vince McMahon reached a settlement with former WWE referee Rita Chatterton who accused McMahon of raping her in 1986. Chatterton sought $11.75 million in damages, and the settlement kept the matter from going to court.

In 2018, McMahon reached a $7.5 million settlement with a former wrestler who accused McMahon of coercing her into giving him oral sex. In 2020, McMahon reached an agreement to pay $3 million to a former WWE employee with whom he was alleged to have an affair, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was just added to the TKO Board of Directors this week.

Read today’s full Wall Street Journal article with extensive additional, sometimes graphic, details on the lawsuit HERE.

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